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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Is Australia ready to play a leading role in precision nuclear medicines?

Health Industry Hub | April 19, 2024 |

Pharma News: A newly released discussion paper unveils Australia’s preparedness to take the helm in the rise of the global radiopharmaceutical industry, as advanced therapies fuel substantial investment and expansion.

GlobalData reports that venture capital deals in radiopharmaceutical have grown 550% to $408 million last year. This compares to $63 million in 2017.

Radiopharmaceuticals are precision nuclear medicines used for medical imaging and treatment. These radioactive drugs target specific organs or tissues, allowing clinicians to diagnose and deliver targeted therapies for diseases such as cancer.

MTPConnect CEO, Stuart Dignam, said the new paper highlights Australia’s competitive edge on the rest of the world, starting with the raw material – uranium and its waste products – found in South Australia.

“To gain first mover advantage, South Australia is identified as the ideal location with end-to-end capabilities – from unique mining assets and a robust research ecosystem through to cutting-edge clinical services and specialised workforce.

“Properly leveraged, these advantages mean Australia really can be a global leader in radiopharmaceuticals, a cutting-edge field with groundbreaking treatments being developed. It’s the right time for government and industry to start working together to unlock this homegrown potential for sovereign manufacturing and more secure supply chains,” Dignam said.

Novartis has made radiopharmaceuticals a pillar of its oncology portfolio. Internationally, the pharmaceuticals company has two registered therapies – Lutathera (lutetium 177 Lu chloride) and Pluvicto (lutetium 177Lu vipivotide tetraxetan).

Supporting the launch of the discussion paper, Matt Zeller, Country President Novartis ANZ commented “Nuclear medicines, like radioligand therapy, could be transformative for cancer care in Australia. Establishing clear pathways for market access and a thriving nuclear medicine industry will be key to enabling Australian patients to access these new treatment options.

“We are committed to partnering across the ecosystem with government, industry, small businesses, research centres and physicians to bring the benefits of life-changing nuclear medicines to Australian patients and this discussion paper is a great step towards understanding how we can do that together, leveraging the resources and expertise that already exists in South Australia,” said Zeller.

Dignam further added “Australia’s radiopharmaceutical industry is at a critical juncture. Bold action now could lock-in Australia as global hub for radiopharmaceuticals and unleash economic growth, create smart and high paying jobs, build export opportunities and make life-saving treatments accessible to Australians.”

The discussion paper, From Mines to Medicines. Australia’s Radiopharmaceuticals Future was launched in Adelaide yesterday at the Adelaide Intermediary Program’s SA Insights Series event, following a stakeholder roundtable.

This report has been developed by MTPConnect and supported by the Department of Trade & Investment, Government of South Australia, AusHealth, Novartis and BHP.

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